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New: Stark from Scratch, a cooking blog from the Tampa Bay Times

  1. Fresh figs take a starring role in this fig cake


    Figs are showy fruit.

    They can't help themselves. Even the plainest, drabbest fig will reveal a scarlet belly, flecked with shimmering seeds, once you take a bite. Whether they're sliced or halved, arranged in a tart shell, on a crostini or just on a plate, there are few visions more enticing. This is why most fig …

    Chopping fresh figs and folding them into cake batter is not something you usually see, but that’s exactly what happens in this recipe for fig cake.
  2. From the food editor: Five things I'm enjoying in the food world right now


    Sometimes your notebook is scribbled with little thoughts here and there, things you come across in the food world and want to share but aren't sure how or when. Well, folks, I need to get some of this off my chest. Here is a somewhat random collection of culinary things I am really enjoying right now:

    Espresso Sea Salt Cookie Sandwiches with a cooked buttercream frosting, from St. Petersburg home bakery Wandering Whisk Bakeshop. Photo by Jennifer Jacobs.
  3. This recipe for Meatless Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash is perfect for Meatless Monday


    This meal is so healthy, I am not even sure how it's so delicious. It's a perfect plate for Meatless Monday: filling yet fun, with "meatballs" made out of crushed nuts and strands of spaghetti squash. The whole thing freezes surprisingly well, too, just note that the squash will be a little watery upon defrost.

    Meatless Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash. Photos by Michelle Stark, Times Food Editor.
  4. Satisfy Chinese takeout craving with Kung Pao Cod


    Eating healthy doesn't mean there isn't room for occasional treats like Chinese takeout or a drive-through for our favorite one-of-a-kind cheeseburger. As long as we keep these kinds of meals reserved for true cravings, not convenience, then I can probably keep our healthy eating in check.

    Kung Pao Cod will satisfy your craving for Chinese food. Using pan-seared cod reduces calories and fat.
  5. Recipe for Autumn Sweet Potato and Mushroom Soup


    What's for dinner? It is the eternal question and, nationwide, the "I'm out of ideas" face can be spotted on folks wandering the grocery store in search of inspiration.

    Autumn Sweet Potato and Mushroom Soup is simple to make. You can start with the base recipe and make your own tweaks, subbing in other hearty veggies for the sweet potato and using your favorite herbs and flavoring ingredients.
  6. Party like you're a kid on Halloween with these kid-friendly books and recipes


    Do your kids love Halloween candy and costumes, but quaver at creepy decorations and horror stories? If so, we've got your back. Try reading these three Halloween books, which will make you laugh, warm your heart, occasionally make you groan in disgust, but never truly scare you. Children can help make the accompanying …

    Frosted Sugar Cookie Pumpkins are a treat for the whole family.
  7. Five ideas for quick loaf breads to make this fall


    Ah, fall. That time of year when we start stocking our homes with candy and come to the slow and not altogether unwelcome realization that comfort foods are a staple for the remainder of the year. • We're leaning all the way in with this collection of quick breads, loaves of pure joy that are simple to make …

    Zucchini is bland and moist enough to lend just the right touch to Lemon Poppyseed Zucchini Loaf.
  8. From the food editor: How to make your own marshmallows


    I am the kind of person who would rather figure out how to make a graham cracker with what I have in the pantry than get in my car, drive to Publix and pick up a box of Honey Maid.

    Homemade vanilla marshmallows, ready for s'mores. Photos by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  9. The magic behind handcrafted marshmallows, another artisanal food trend


    Nathan and Jenn Clark are wild for marshmallows.

    Among the creations made by Aaron and Ivy Lippard of Cake Affection in St. Petersburg are these s'mores marshmallows. Marshmallows have been on the menu there since they opened the shop in 2014.
(SCOTT KEELER   |   Times)
  10. We want to hear about your favorite holiday food traditions


    Maybe it's the Chinese food your family orders before church on Christmas Eve. Or the large spread of hors d'oeuvres you have when you get home. Your most treasured food memory may be the leftover pie crust your mom flattened out and coated with cinnamon and sugar, baking it in a still-hot oven just for you.

    Photo by the New York Times